Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bunnicula, by Deborah and James Howe

Rating: 5/5
Publisher: Listening Library
About 1.5 CDs
Narrated by Victor Garber
Source: Library book

Cover note: Not the cover of the audio collection I'm listening to. This one matches my old copy of Bunnicula.

Description: Beware the Hare. Is he or isn't he a vampire? Before it's too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household--a suspicious looking bunny with unusual habits . . . and fangs. (From the back of the audiobook.)

Review: This book is, still, a cute, fun read.

Allegedly written by Howard the dog, we get to watch Chester's frantic attempts to warn the Munroe family of the danger that lurks in the form of their new pet and, when that doesn't work, his various attempts to slay the vampire in their midst, from his rather bewildered perspective.

Needless to say, its pretty clear that the vampire is not actually dangerous, unless you're a vegetable, and everything ends happily.

I loved this book as a kid, and it doesn't seem to have any references that would make it seem dated to a modern audience.

Lover Be Mine, By Nicole Jordan

Rating: 3/5
Publisher: Ballantine Books
327 pages
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description: As the wickedly seductive Wilde cousins seek true love by taking a page from history's legendary love stories, Lord Jack Wilde plays a determined Romeo courting an enchanting Juliet.

The last thing Sophie Fortin expects at a masquerade ball is a dazzling kiss from a pirate. Her desire quickly falters when she learns that her masked gentleman is devilishly scandalous Lord Jack, a member of the captivating Wilde clan — and a man she’s forbidden to acknowledge. But when Jack begins a breathtaking seduction, Sophie can barely resist.

Jack never imagined that the daughter of his family’s mortal enemy would awaken such fierce passion within him—until one unforgettable kiss changes his mind forever. Soon, Jack is hell-bent on winning Sophie’s hand, going so far as to abduct her to save her from marrying a rival nobleman. Determined to woo Sophie and her unyielding parents, Jack is faced with the one decision he’d sworn never to make. The secret heir to a prince, Jack has spurned his royal heritage for years . . . but for Sophie he’ll risk all to turn a legacy of heartbreak into love ever after.
(From the back cover)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stonemouth, by Iain Banks

Rating: 3.5/5
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
356 pages
Source: Library book

Description: Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth, Scotland.

After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of local patriarch Joe Murston, even though the last time Stewart saw the Murstons he was running for his life. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day.
On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than sea fog, gangsters, cheap drugs, and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously.

Before long a quick drop into the cold, grey Stoun River begins to look like the easy option, but as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stewart uncovers ever darker stories, and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated.
(From the book jacket)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

Rating: 3/5
Publisher: Dell
261 pages
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description: Lord Edmund Waite is everything that Lady Mary Gregg despises: lewd, lascivious, mocking—the most incorrigible and successful rogue around. A bluestocking like her would never tempt a man whose taste runs to pretty playthings—so Mary is startled to find herself the object of Lord Edmund’s desires. Even more surprising is her reaction to his shocking advances. She may be a lady, but this man knows so well how to make her feel like a woman. (From the back cover.)

Review: Well, it was better than the other book in the volume. Edmund and Mary both had personalities at least.

Probably due to the length of the book, the romance seemed rushed, however the story still seemed to drag in places. And I wasn't thrilled about stalkerish behavior on the part of our hero, plus I suspect the first hookup between the leads could be troubling for some readers due to some dubious seeming consent issues.

Not a terrible book, but there are better romances out there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Use of Weapons, by Iain M. Banks

Rating: 5/5
Publisher: Orbit
486 pages

Description: The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks, or military action.

The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.

The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past. 
(From the back cover)

The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks

Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: Orbit
391 pages

Description: The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. 

Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.  (From the back cover)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Edited by Peter Boxall

Rating: 3/5
Publisher: Universe
960 pages
Source: Library

Description: A list, with brief descriptions, of one thousand and one books, that the contributors to this volume feel everyone should read for a well rounded literary experience.